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J Child Neurol. 2012 Oct;27(10):1310-5. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Declining use of the Hallervorden-Spatz disease eponym in the last two decades.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


There has been a movement to rename Hallervorden-Spatz disease to pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration given Hallervorden and Spatz's complicity in murderous Nazi programs. Similar controversy surrounds Reiter syndrome, and 2 studies demonstrated decreased unqualified use of that eponym in the literature, but not in textbooks. There have been no similar studies regarding Hallervorden-Spatz disease. The authors performed a MEDLINE search (1990-2010) looking for unqualified use of Hallervorden-Spatz disease and performed statistical analysis. They defined "unqualified" as having no reference to the eponym's disfavored use. They then looked in 6 neurology textbooks. The authors identified 156 of 278 articles (56.1%) containing unqualified use of Hallervorden-Spatz disease. But there was a declining trend (P = .000), with 70/80 (87.5%) of articles from 1990 to 1999 and 86/198 (43.4%) from 2000 to 2010. There was also decreased unqualified use of the eponyms in textbooks, with all recent editions using pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration instead. The significant decrease in unqualified use of Hallervorden-Spatz disease is reassuring.

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